Chat with Rob Neyer
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Rob Neyer (12:01 PM)
Hey. Is it just me, or does it seem like the World Series ended a long, long time ago on a planet far, far away?
I'm tired of the Pujols v Howard discussion -- When are the friggin' awards announced??
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
What, the Hank Aaron Awards weren't enough for you, Joe? I always forget when they announce the BBWAA awards, and I can't find a schedule anywhere. But the big ones are next week, I think.
Rob (Cranford, NJ)
Hey Rob, what would happen if a player didn't file for free agency? Thanks.
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
He couldn't play.
Jonathan (Rockville, MD)
World (Expletive) Champions. Chase Utley put it best. What affect will losing Mike Arbuckle have on the Phillies? Will Ruben Amaro make a splash in his first offseason as General Manager?
Rob Neyer (12:09 PM)
In the short term, losing Arbuckle shouldn't have any effect at all, since it takes at least three years for even the best prospects -- most of them, anyway -- to reach the majors and help the big club. In the long term, we'll see. Most of the Phillies' best players are home-grown. As for Amaro, I suspect the Phillies will try to pick up a starting pitcher and maybe re-sign Burrell, but otherwise they're probably set.
Rob, tell me if I have this right. Milwaukee's offer to Sabathia sends the message to fans (maybe even teammates)that they're serious about winning, but there's no way he gives Milwaukee a $50 million discount, and the Brewers deep down don't really want him to accept it. So it's sort of like making sure your friend is there to hold you back when you start talking smack to a guy who'll knock you silly, right?
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
I'm not sure about your analogy, David, but otherwise your analysis is spot-on.
John (Austin, TX)
I assume you saw Rany's take on the Mike Jacobs trade. What do you think about the deal? If this means the Royals are going to deal Butler, I will be crushed.
Rob Neyer (12:13 PM)
Yeah, but did Rany see *my* take on the deal? I think it's a silly deal, adding a good deal of power while not addressing the franchise's single biggest weakness: low on-base percentage. And this, after GM Dayton Moore made great pains to say that improving the team OBP was his No. 1 off-season priority. This is just a lousy organization, as it's been for 25 years.
Rob, Can you please explain why the Red Sox would want to pay Texieria 100-120 mil for at least 4-5 years when they have Lars Anderson, one of the top prospects in Baseball, maybe 2 years away?
Rob Neyer (12:14 PM)
Are we sure they do, Mark? I think if they can get him (relatively) cheap, they might as well. Any team should. But I'll be surprised if they wind up being high bidders.
Awards schedule here: http://www.baseballwriters.org/awards/2008/
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
Thanks, Chris. I should have checked there first . . . Beginning with Rookies of the Year next Monday, everything but the MVPs are announced next week. And those are announced the following Monday and Tuesday. The suspense is killing me!
What are your thoughts on the World Series and a neutral site? I think people are overreacting, and it's a lot of luck. In WI, we had snow one day during the World Series. Today and yesterday, it is reaching 70.
Rob Neyer (12:18 PM)
I don't like to see baseball games played in lousy weather. But it seems to me that whatever's gained with a neutral, warm-weather site is more than lost with all the other stuff. When the Red Sox and Cubs play in the World Series, I want to see Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. 'Nuff said.
Rob, who do you think takes the NL Cy Young, Lincecum or Webb?
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
Lincecum. But when I filled out my (unofficial) ballot, it was Lidge, Lincecum, Santana.
The world series on a neutral site is a great idea if you're (a) rich, or (b) a sports writer. For the fans who won't get to see their team, the idea stinks.
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
Well played, Slew.
Rob, if by some chance Jamie Moyer pitches until he's 50 and somehow makes it to 300 wins, does he get into the Hall of Fame?
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
First, he won't pitch until he's 50, nor will he win 300 games. But even if he did, he'd still need another 20-win season to get much love from the voters. Otherwise he's just Jim Kaat and Tommy John with a few extra wins. That is, I do *not* think 300 is necessarily a magic number (even if it always has been).
Neil (Boston MA)
Rob, do the Tigers trading Mags this offseason? They need catching, a closer, a starter and a shortstop could they get a lot in return?
Rob Neyer (12:23 PM)
That'd be bold, wouldn't it? As I noted in my blog this morning, the Tigers have a lot of holes to fill and not a lot of money to spend. I mean, beyond their prior commitments to veterans like Ordonez.
Matt (Boston, MA)
Rob, If you are the Red Sox, what do you do with Jason Varitek? The media constantly talks about his management of the pitching staff and how he calls such a good game. I have a hard time believing that he is so much better at that aspect than everyone else that I would pay a late 30's, 0.220 hitting catcher 10 million a year? Do you agree?
Rob Neyer (12:24 PM)
Sure. I don't see how they can justify paying him $10 million *or* giving him more than 300 plate appearances next season. I do think he'll be back, in a reduced role (and at a reduced salary). I could be wrong, though, as some owner might want to buy some of that Red Sox magic...
I'm surprised you had Lidge over Lincecum, can you give us your reasons?
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
One basic reason: Lidge was five or six games better than a typical full-time closer.
You do realize Johan led in ERA, Innings Pitched, and WHIP among the three of him, lincecum, and webb? And he was 2nd in K's. I feel like you writers look at wins and saves and then vote. Not too informed if you ask me.
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
I also looked at WPA, Drew. Did you?
Chris (Sin City)
Rob, I have a friend sitting next to me that thinks the Yankees would be retarded if they pick up C.C. Sabathia. Is there any way you can help him see the light?
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
There's absolutely no reason to think that Sabathia won't be a Cy Young candidate next year. In five years? I have no idea. But that's the nature of the beast, and if you have money and want to win now, you worry about that when you have to.
Rob - With talk the red sox are planning to stay away from the big free agent pitchers (Sabathia, Burnett, Lowe), and focus on Mark Teixiera, what is their plan? Should there be more concern that Mike Lowell will not be 100% after surgery? Or are they worried about David Ortiz regressing further?
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
This morning I saw something where Theo Epstein mentioned the organization's desire for "redundancy". And not in the British sense of the word. As I said earlier, I don't know that they're serious about Teixeira, but if you get a guy like him, you figure out how to make it work. And no, I don't think Lowell's comeback is a sure thing.
Rob is there any credibility to "calling a good game"? It seems as if a pitcher will just shrug off the sign if he doesn't want to throw that pitch, or am I missing something?
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
Most pitchers swear by it, Raymond. Analysts will tell you they have a devil of a time *finding* it. Most smart baseball man will tell you that even if they can't find it, they don't want their pitchers worrying about it. There will always be a place for the Brad Ausmuses of the world.
Jonathan (Rockville, MD)
Did you remember to vote?
Rob Neyer (12:33 PM)
I voted days and days ago, Jonathan. Here in Oregon, there's no excuse for not voting early and intelligently.
Jeff (Brooklyn, OH)
If you're Brian Cashman, don't you move Jeter to CF? It makes way too much sense not to happen.
Rob Neyer (12:37 PM)
Two questions. One, who's going to play shortstop? Two, who's going to tell Cap'n Jetes? It's too bad for the Yankees, but on the other hand the entire organization has fostered the mass delusion that Jeter's actually a good shortstop. So now they're stuck with him for the duration.
Are the reports that the Mets won't pursue Sabathia and will instead focus on Lowe and Fuentes worth taking seriously, or can I write them off as Omar posturing himself for other more worthwhile pursuits? As long as you tell me his grand plan isn't to spend 30 million on Lowe and Fuentes I'll be content.
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
Would you rather have Lowe/Fuentes for $30 million or Sabathia for $25 million? But it might actually be more like $28 million and $27 million. I think I'd take Lowe/Fuentes.
Eric (Stony Point, New York)
Rob, what do you think the Mets will do with Delgado now that they have picked up his option? Is there any possibility he will be traded? Are there any teams that would be interested?
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
It's possible, but I don't see how they deal Delgado unless they've signed another first baseman.
so, jeter isn't a good shortstop. how did he win 2 consecutive gold gloves?
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
Quite frankly? The abject stupidity of the voters.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
How can MLB complain about bad weather for World Series games when they are playing the games around Halloween? Maybe they should buy a farmers almanac. Of course, a solution they'll never use is shortening the unnecessarily long 162 game season but the money will get in the way of that.
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
MLB's not complaining about the weather; the writers are complaining about the weather. I do agree that the World Series should not be played in November (as it probably will be next year). But we've been talking about this for years, and it's clear that neither the owners nor the players care one bit.
Better defensive shortstop? Rollins or Jeter? Is it close?
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
Umm, Rollins is one of the very best shortstops and Jeter is one of the very worst. Night and day, black and white, yin and yang, etc.
Hi Rob. I don't understand how anyone can be down on the Jacobs trade. They traded an oft-injured middle reliever for a legitimate power hitter. To find a high obp high slug player you would have had to trade Greinke.
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Kyle, leaving aside the OBP for the moment, there's also the fact that Jacobs plays first base and (presumably) DH, which happens to be the one position at which the Royals actually have some depth. Say what you want about his power, but he's now blocking either Billy Butler or Kila Ka'aihue. This just isn't a trade that a smart organization makes.
Francisco Liriano (Minneapolis)
The Twins missed out on the playoffs by just one game. I was wasting away in the minors for way, way too long. Where does this blunder end up on your next Rob Neyer's Big List of Blunders list?
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
There will certainly be a place for you (and Livan Hernandez) in the next edition.
Ben (Tempe, AZ)
Why is everyone so sure that CC won't sign with the Brewers? I know its probably unlikely but say they offered him 100 million for 4 years? Could that do it?
Rob Neyer (12:49 PM)
Not if someone else offers $150 million for six years. Which is probably going to be the starting point in the serious negotiations.
How can you state that Jeter is one of the worst defensive shortstops only a few years removed from a gold glove? I understand he is not the best but he is more middle of the pack than one of the worst defensively. Explain why you think he is so bad defensively.
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
Because his numbers -- as interpreted by just about every good analyst who's ever looked at them -- are among the very worst in the majors, year after year after year. At his *best*, Jeter was adequate. But most years he's been terrible.
I know they both come with their own risks, but who would you rather sign to a long-term deal, Sheets or Burnett?
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
Burnett. He's been healthier and he's been pitching in the Big Boy League.
Rob, JJ Hardy finished with the 4th best OPS of any SS. He also finished 3rd among short stops in the Fielding Bible rankings voted on by yourself among others. Why is nobody talking about him as a top-flight short stop?
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
It was an excellent-but-underrated year. If the Brewers trade him -- as they probably should -- they figure to get a great return.
Why do you keep taking comments about Jeter's defensive ability? I admit, it can be entertaining at times, but the horse has been dead for years...
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
Rich, I might be wrong, but I believe this is the first time I've addressed the subject since last winter (at least).
When you say Lidge was 5 or 6 games better than a typical closer, you mean 5 or 6 wins right? (BTW - I agree that he should be the Cy winner.)
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
Yes. Games = Wins.
Kieth Law mentioned in a chat the other day that Orlando Hudson's defense has slipped to the point of being just average. Do you agree? That would be a pretty precipitous drop as I though he was the very best just a couple of years ago.
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
He was uniformly excellent through 2007, but didn't make the plays in 2008. I suspect it's a one-year thing and he'll be excellent again next year, if healthy.
Antonio (Chicago, IL)
Rob, can you explain the restrictions on incentive clauses? I believe it is not allowed to have incentive clauses based on straight production (hence the 'historic achievements' mumbo-jumbo with ARod). Please enlighten me/us further!
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
Yeah, that's right. The only allowable incentive clauses are tied to playing time, weight, awards . . . Maybe I'm missing something, but you get the idea. Really it's sort of silly, because it's not like guys don't know that home runs are more likely than RBI grounders to result in an MVP Award. I think it's all about appearances more than anything.
Rob, in answer to your question, signing a slightly above mediocre closer like Fuentes to a contract that may approach 39 Mil sounds like a bad idea to me. And I see no reason why the Mets couldn't compete with the Yankees on CC (as far as $) and still put together a good bullpen afterward.
Rob Neyer (12:59 PM)
Fuentes is a lot better than you think, John. Granted, one could argue that no team (except maybe the Yankees) should spend more than $10 million on a reliever...
What's the current saves record if Brad Lidge spent last season in Anaheim?
Rob Neyer (1:00 PM)
About the same as it is now. Lidge would have blown a few if he'd been pitching in the other league. Or for that matter, with any other team. To do what Lidge did, everything has to break exactly right.
Wow, you vote intelligently and people who vote for gold glove winners are stupid. That's quite a high horse you're on Rob.
Rob Neyer (1:02 PM)
And you should see the view from up here. Thanks for all the questions, and I hope to see you again next week, same time, etc. Until then don't forget what Ike said: "Any man who wants to be President is either an egomaniac or crazy."
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